Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween 2015!

I decided on a last-minute costume of sorts for school on Friday... and glad I did! It was pretty funny surprising people throughout the day. I scared a few students, even though it wasn't supposed to be a scary costume. I shocked many when they walked past my desk and said hello to my 'normal side'... then got a surprise when they saw the rest! Hahaha. And others just stared or said hello to me after a double-take and some giggling.  :P

Thursday, October 29, 2015

EXPO - American Pavilion's BRUNCH

The universal exposition has been going on in Milan since the beginning of last May. It ends the last day of October (tomorrow!). EXPO has brought millions of visitors to the city over the past 6 months. Preparations for the event started before I even moved here, more than two years ago.

EXPO 2015

Wikipedia article: EXPO 2015

It has been a really big deal (for good reason -- it's a HUGE event!) and many hoped that it would boost Milan/Italy's economy. Not everyone have been fans of having such a large project in the city though. It's been expensive to host and has brought many extra people to the area. During the opening weekend last May, there were protests, riots, and vandalism in various areas of the city. Throughout the city, there have been plenty of examples of the negative feelings:

Since opening weekend, however, the EXPO seems to have gone pretty well. Friends of mine from school that have gone have really enjoyed it... or said that it was too crowded, they didn't get to go inside many pavilions, it's too big to really see all of it in one visit, etc. Instead of going to the actual EXPO grounds, where countries around the world each have a pavilion and then fit the theme, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, I went to an American-style brunch instead! Perrrrrrfect.

I fully enjoyed going to a lovely brunch instead of braving the crowds of the full event.

Joining a couple friends from school, we went to brunch on a Sunday that was offered through the American pavilion and were really pleased. (We went in early September -- I'm still behind on posting to the blog!) People could also attend multi-course dinners led by famous chefs. Brunch took place on an outdoor patio overlooking the Duomo's plaza. It was great. (Oh, and there was also unlimited coffee, food, and mimosas... I enjoyed fresh orange juice.)   :P

Gorgeous day. Gorgeous view.

It doesn't get much better than delicious coffee AND a giant chocolate chip cookie!

Heath and Angela were the same two friends that I went out for dinner with on my birthday in August! We then stopped by Bar Luce for a drink:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Cemetery Visit - Cimitero Monumentale di Milano

I have read that there is a large cemetery on the north side of the city that is a great place to visit when in Milan. It turns up on lists of things to do in Milan. I finally made it there this past Sunday! I really enjoyed my time walking through the cemetery. It was a gorgeous day and so peaceful throughout the cemetery's grounds. The place is well kept and incredibly interesting to walk through.

Below are some of my favorite photos from my visit to the Cimitero Monumentale di Milano:

The main entrance:

Mom and Aunt Gail's Visit in Milan

Heart-shaped pizzas at my favorite place!

Photos of yummy pastries are a must.

Visiting Bar Luce within the Prada Foundation:

Mom, shopping the olive aisle in Esselunga. (Seriously, there's an entire aisle of olives.)


A gorgeous day in the center of the city   : )

Lots of walking = Tired feet.

Ordering aperitivo in Opera... through the window   : P

Monday, October 26, 2015


This will be my last post of my time in Venice at the end of June with my mom and aunt. They are bits and pieces of my favorites from our 3-day stay!

Libreria Acqua Alta is the bookstore that I mentioned in a past post about an amazing bookstore that we stumbled upon in Venice. There are books ALL over... even a staircase made of books in the back that overlooks a canal! There are bathtubs and gondolas overflowing with books. I loved it. The Smithsonian wrote an article about this bookstore last year: Why Does This Bookstore Keep Its Books in Bathtubs?

I love this photo of Mom and Aunt Gail   : )   Le Sorelle! (The Sisters)

THE MOST delicious bruschetta I've ever tasted. (Twice.)   : )

These two weren't together on the water taxi but they are equally fabulous.


Completing this set of photos with one of Le Sorelle   : )

Gorgeous Venice. Gorgeous Doors

This past trip to Venice was my favorite. I feel like we had enough time (over the two-night stay) to explore, walk, and enjoy. Venice is such a special city and I really, really love the details that are plentiful if you just look around.

Is this place for sale?? I love it!

We were waiting for the boat taxi to pick us up and go to Murano Island when this happened:

Not a door... but still gorgeous:

Venice - St. Mark's Basilica

St. Mark's Basilica (Basilica di San Marco) is one of my favorite churches that I've seen. The inside is at beautiful as the outside. The gold mosaic on the ceiling of the inside - throughout the entire church - is amazing! The domes are also quite stunning -- each with its own story being told.

Mom, Aunt Gail, and I went upstairs and it was a nice walk around one side. We also went out onto the terrace for lovely views of the square below and even looking out to the main canal. When I came to Venice with my family 6 years ago, we didn't go inside St. Mark's because we were in the city during The Feast of the Redeemer (quite the celebration!) and the line was incredibly long. While inside the basilica this time, I kept thinking how much my dad would enjoy seeing this. (Dad, next time you're here!)

The Four Horses of St. Mark's 
(the original ones are found inside, in the museum that is within the basilica)

Looking out from the side of the basilica, along the side of Doge's Palace and out to the main canal:

The Bridge of Sighs:

The Bridge of Sighs is quite a famous piece of Venice. Prisoners would cross this enclosed bridge from Doge's Palace as they being sent to the prison. The view out of the windows from this bridge was the last view of Venice that they saw before imprisonment. Read more about the Bridge of Sighs here.

Venice -- those buildings though

My first time to Italy was during the summer of 2004. This was when I learned how much I enjoy architecture and design. Venice's architecture throughout the city is absolutely stunning. Even the buildings that look simple at first, seem to have something special about it if you look closely. I love shapes and details around windows... the colors... the arches... everything. One building is as gorgeous as the next.

The Doges Palace (Palazzo Ducale):